Hammerson returns to profit with footfall almost back to pre-pandemic levels
Hammerson listed three key positives in its half-year trading update on Thursday. The commercial property giant returned to pre-tax profit as footfall recovered to near pre-pandemic levels and costs fell.
The group, which owns the Bullring/Grand Central in Birmingham, Bicester Village Designer Outlet Centre in Oxfordshire and key shopping centres across Europe, reported a pre-tax profit of £50.3 million in the six months to 30 June, compared with a loss of £375.5 million for the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings also jumped 154% to £51m.
The company said this reflects a 48% increase in like-for-like net rental income, lower administration and finance costs and strong contributions from its Value Retail holding.
Hammerson also completed £194m of disposals, reducing net debt by 6% with a further £300m of disposals expected by the end of 2023.
One blip was revenue inching down to £62 million from £65.3 million. However, it said sales were approaching 2019 levels overall, and ahead of 2019 levels in Q2.
But, importantly, footfall at the end of the second quarter strengthened to 90% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Sales, occupancy and rent collection also improved toward pre-pandemic levels.
Chief Executive Rita-Rose Gagné said: “We continued to make good strategic, financial and operational progress in the first half. We have strengthened our tenant profile, we have a strong and diversified leasing pipeline for the second half, and robust occupancy levels across our destinations.”
She added: “We are a better, more resilient, and financially secure business as a result of the actions taken since the beginning of 2021.”
And while aware of the “potentially volatile environment ahead,” Gagné also said the company has “identified a number of levers within our control to continue to create value. We see more opportunities ahead.”
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